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Shuffle Off to Buffalo

Posted September 15, 2010 By Kathy

Views of th Niagara River along the bike path.

Views of the Niagara River along the Riverwalk bike path.


 

September 11, 2010

 

It is a pleasant sunny Saturday as I head out of Dunkirk, New York. I pass a small vineyard and Woodberry Winery. At mile 8, I arrive in the town of Silver Creek. I am riding on busy, congested US 5/20. I pass by Valvo’s Store, known for its candy, statues and collectables. If you need a fountain, birdbath, pillars or religious statuary this is the  place. While you’re there, don’t forget the box of chocolates. 

I ride by lonely looking strip malls, I think everyone’s at Aunt Millies Family Restaurant down the street. A large motorcycle brigade roars by. The bikes are all decorated with American flags in remembrance of those who lost their lives nine years ago by senseless acts of terrorism.

The big town of Evans is bustling with activity. They are celebrating their ninth annual Derby Fair. I am tempted to stop and join in the fun. I turn off US 5/20 onto quiet Lake Shore Road. I ride on a narrow two-lane road by big beautiful houses lining the lake. Wrought iron gates and tall green hedges separate me from a view of Lake Erie.

When I see the lake again, I have a view of the Buffalo skyline in the distance. Just south of the city, massive wind turbines sit where old steel plants use to reign. I turn back onto US 5 east and ride by businesses and more lake houses. My route takes me into Athol Springs and then into the city of Buffalo.

At Maritime Park in downtown Buffalo, I jump on the Riverwalk bike path. I pedal along the shoreline of Lake Erie, which eventually becomes the east branch of the Niagara River. The area is teeming with people walking, fishing, boating and just enjoying the view. My route takes me on another bike path to Delaware Park where it ends and our layover begins.

We spent a delightful layover day with our family in Buffalo. My mother-in-law Virginia, Rodge’s brother Warren and his sister Sue and her family were there to greet us and to make us welcome. Thanks all for the wonderful time!

God Bless,

Kathy

Romans 8:28

 

I Stop and Smell the Grapes

Posted September 12, 2010 By Kathy

Vineyards along Lake Erie.


 
September 10, 2010

It’s another crisp, cool morning as I head out onto SR 5. I cycle by a montage of businesses and houses. All is quiet as I go by St. Benedict Monastery. Vineyards surround me on both sides and fill the air with the scent of Concord grapes. I wish I had “click and sniff” technology on my blog so I could share the fragrance. A produce stand grabs my attention with its sign for “goat milk fudge”.

I climb a hill and at the top see Lake Erie in the distance. It has turned into a blustery day with gray clouds ahead. A vineyard warehouse stacked with crates waits for harvest time. At mile 15, I arrive in New York our twelfth and final state. Western New York is where I grew up and went to college. It is where I have family, friends and fond memories.

The first New York town I enter is Ripley. I am riding on US 5 or Bicycle Road 517. I pass by Sparkling Ponds Winery, and then a golf course where people are teed off, and puttering around. I pass a Bills flag and realize we are in Buffalo Bill’s football country. I’m once again cycling by vineyards on my right and left and smelling what could only be described as Welch’s grape jelly.  

I arrive in Barcelona Harbor in Westfield and photograph the Barcelona Light House. A red, white and blue derelict boat sits in the harbor waiting for my next shot. Westfield is the Grape Juice Capital of the World. After Dr. Charles Welch popularized the consumption of pasteurized grape juice from concord grapes, in 1897 he built the world’s first large grape juice plant in Westfield, NY.

When I arrive in Dunkirk, I pass by a country club. There I see a beautiful, immaculately trimmed Weeping Willow tree standing in one of the fairways. They must have used a gigantic bowl. Overall, it’s been a grape day!

God Bless,

Kathy  

Psalm 106:1

Kathy is welcomed to New York.

Kathy is welcomed to New York.

Vineyards bordered on the sides by goldenrod.

A derelict boat in Barcelona Harbor.

Vineyards along New York SR 5.

An immaculately trimmed Weeping Willow tree.

 

Pennsylvania Here I Come

Posted September 12, 2010 By Kathy
Whitecaps on Lake Erie.

Whitecaps on Lake Erie.

 
September 9, 2010

We started our day at the Sunrise Café in Geneva-on-the-Lake. It was the liveliest breakfast so far on the trip. The pancakes were awesome and the company great. We were serenaded by a local woman who came in daily and sang her good morning song. What a great place to jump-start our day

At 7:30 a.m. I headed out on SR 531 into a brisk, windy, fifty-degree day. Lake Erie was covered with whitecaps as the wind blew out of the west. Houses surrounded me on both sides of the road. Many businesses along the lake were seasonal and would close soon. I entered the city of Astabula and rode by a church sign that read, “This Church is Prayer Conditioned.” I cycled over a lift bridge that had a marina on one side and a big coal shuttle on the other side. The shuttle transported coal to railroad cars across the water.

When I left Ashtabula, the area became very industrialized with coal-operated power plants. I arrived in North Kingsville and was once again cycling by cottages along the lake. A spacious park covered with geese was a great place to cycle by and not walk through. In the town of Conneaut, I turned east onto US 20. The sun was now out in full force and warming up the area.

At the end of the Lake Erie Coastal Trail, I crossed into Pennsylvania, our eleventh state. I was now riding on SR 5 called the Seaway Trail or Pennsylvania Bicycle Z Route. I saw my first cornfield of the day. I passed North Springfield and rode by a big nursery lined with rows of small green shrubs and pine trees. I pedaled by fragrant vineyards.

Farmer’s markets with fruits and vegetables were becoming more commonplace. Pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, peppers, peaches, corn, plums and grapes filled baskets that lined the stands. Hearty mums in purple, golden yellow, white, orange, pink and burgundy hues were ready to be planted. They added a splash of color to the fall leaf display.

Yes, fall is in the air. I am starting to see the beautiful changes in the color of the leaves, the crisp feel of the breeze, and the wonderful fresh fall fruits and vegetable. It is a wonderful time of year to be cycling. It is a wonderful time of year to be thankful for the bounty of fall’s harvest.

God Bless,
Kathy
James 1:17

Kathy is welcomed by Pennsylvania.

Kathy is welcomed by Pennsylvania.

A nursery full of young shrubs.

A nursery full of young shrubs.

Winds from the west blow across Lake Erie.

A vineyard near Lake City, Pennsylvania

 

A Visit to Amish Country

Posted September 11, 2010 By Kathy

A farm near Shalersvile, Ohio


 
September 8, 2010

It’s 7:30 a.m. and I’m heading east on hilly SR 303. Traffic is heavy as people drive to work and school. I notice more congestion as we travel toward the east coast. Long gone are the miles of wide-open spaces. I pass through the town of Shalersville and see a sign for their Potato Festival. In Windham, I cycle by a man atop a truck watering flower baskets hanging from light poles.

I turn north onto SR 534 and ride by a quarter horse farm. An oil derrick bobs up and down in a nearby field. The last oil derrick I saw was in Wyoming. As I head further north the clear blue skies are filling with clouds.

Outside the town of Farmington, I cycle by Freeman’s Blacksmith Shop. That is a sign I’m in Amish country. White houses with clotheslines decorated with colorful garments, small vegetable gardens, black buggies and horse drawn farm equipment are other indications. I see three men cutting corn stalks while another stacks them in a wagon. I pass an Amish woman wheeling a double stroller with two sleeping children.  

As I cycle into Mesopotamia, Ohio, I see a woman leaving the general store driving a horse-drawn buggy. Mesopotamia has the fourth largest Amish community in the country. With a population of 2,600, sixty per cent are Amish. The town has a large park or commons running down the center. Many homes and a church surround the commons.

I leave Amish country and arrive in Windsor. I see signs for crème filled pumpkin rolls and a “Strings R Us” store selling musical gifts and accessories for guitars and violins. The wind is picking up and the sky is getting darker. I ride by vineyards and the smell of grapes is heavenly. I finally arrive in Geneva-on-the-Lake where we are greeted by Indian Creek Campground and the waters of Lake Erie.

God Bless,

Kathy

Ephesians 3:20

A horse-drawn buggy display in Mesopotamia, Ohio

A colorful clothesline on an Amish farm.

An Amish schoolhouse.

Horses spending family time together.

A patriotic house near Geneva, Ohio.

 

On to Hudson, Ohio

Posted September 9, 2010 By Kathy

One steep roller in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.


 
September 6, 2010

It is Labor Day 2010 and I’m looking forward to a fantastic day. We are on the way to Hudson, Ohio where we will spend a layover day. At 7:20 a.m., it is fifty degrees as I start out on US 20. The leaves on several trees are beginning to change color. I ride by homes decorated in red, white and blue.

When I turn onto SR 303, I start cycling by soybean and cornfields. No matter how many times I see them they peak my interest because each field is unique. They are all viewed in a different light. They vary in location, color, height, and orientation. Some are still and others sway in the wind. Some have wildflowers bordering them, others have colorful grasses. So each time I cycle by a field it’s a new discovery.  

As I cycle through the town of Camden, a horse trailer passes me and two fillies standing in the back moon me. I ride by an odorous pig farm. If I wasn’t awake, I am now. God must have blessed pig farmers with special noses. When I leave the town of Valley City, I see the sign “Leaving Frog Jump Country”. They have a Frog Jump Festival every August, warts and all.

I pedal through the city of Brunswick, Ohio. The streets are lined with flags and porches are decorated with flag bunting. When I reach the town of Hinkley, I start a long climb. This is followed by several difficult, steep climbs. I roll down a hill with a 17% grade and pray I don’t flip over. In all of my years of cycling, I’ve never seen a grade that high.

I was just riding through rolling cornfields. Where did the gut wrenching hills come from?  My question was answered when I discovered I was cycling through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I didn’t realize Ohio had a national park. I rolled my way through Richfield and the town of Peninsula and exited the park. A few miles later, I arrived in the quaint town of Hudson for a layover day.    

A highlight of the layover was getting to meet Kathy from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. When Kathy found out that, the Cycle for Dystonia route went close to her hometown she contacted me to ask if we could get together. She came to Hudson and treated me to lunch. Kathy also has cervical dystonia, so we had a lot to discuss. Kathy, thank you for a wonderful afternoon!

God Bless,

Kathy

Luke 1:37

A harvested corn field.

A harvested cornfield.

Another Ohio barn.

Another Ohio barn.

 

The Back Roads of Ohio

Posted September 7, 2010 By Kathy

 

An Ohio cornfield bordered by rust colored grasses.


 
August 5, 2010

It is a crisp blue-sky morning. I’m heading to Milan, Ohio seventy-seven miles down the road. I turn onto US 6 to begin my journey. Rodge and Bailey will meet me at my first stop in twenty miles. As I spin my pedals my legs protest and my buns ache. It will take a couple of miles to get my body in sync to ride. By mile ten I will be cycling in overdrive, ready to take on thirty more miles before I refuel. I will become an extension of my bike.  

The morning dew sparkles on tall grasses along the side of the road. I watch a wooly bear caterpillar crawl out in front of me. Its black furry body striped with an orange band undulates across the pavement. I enter and leave Weston, Ohio all in one breath. I see wind turbines spinning in the distance. When I get close to them, I hear a whooshing sound as they slice through the air.

I am riding south of Bowling Green on a four-lane road. Traffic picks up and I go into my high alert mode. My bike thumps over cracked pavement and jars me into submission. This too shall pass. I hook up with Rodge and we pick the town of Fremont, twenty-three miles away, as our next rendezvous point.

I ride by an alpaca farm, where the young look like spitting images of their Mom. Fields of rustling corn line the road and lead me to a golf course. I have hackers and duffers on both sides of me. I listen for the F word (fore) and pray. I enter the small town of Fremont, Ohio, the home of President Rutherford B. Hayes.

I jump on the North Coast Inland Trail, a 12-foot wide, asphalt paved trail, built over the abandoned Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad. This rail to trail will take me seven miles to the small town of Clyde. Along the way, I pass by joggers, cyclists, skaters and  a young boy with curly red hair cycling in his bare feet. I finally arrive in Milan after a wonderful day of riding along the back roads of Ohio.

God Bless,

Kathy

Psalm 3:3

An Ohio farmscape.

 

Hi Ohio

Posted September 6, 2010 By Kathy

Kathy poses by the "Welcome to Ohio" sign.

Kathy poses by the "Welcome to Ohio" sign.


 
September 4, 2010

At 7:30 a.m. I cycle into an overcast cool morning on US 20. A big mass of dark clouds hang overhead, but in the distance, I see a hint of blue sky. I ride by soybean and corn fields mixed in with houses and barns. It is spitting out and my glasses are spotted with water. My wet hands are cold as the wind whips by. I cycle faster to outrun the falling drops.

At mile 8, I cross into my tenth state Ohio. I’m so excited there is finally a state sign to pose with. It is my first time cycling in Ohio and I’m psyched! I smell a wood burning stove and hear a rooster crow as I traverse through Ohio farmland. I turn onto SR 49 and bump along the cracks in the road. When traffic allows I move toward the middle where the road is smoother.

I notice an Amish horse and buggy sign, warning drivers to be cautious. While pedaling by a golf course, I see men teeing off in my direction. I pray they don’t hook the ball. When I enter the town of Edgerton, I ride by a greenhouse sign that reads, “Get Your Smile On.” I can’t think of a better way to make someone smile then with flowers.

I turn east onto US 6 and a tailwind kicks in. Yippee!  I’m coasting along at 18 mph and Destiny is rejoicing. Every farmhouse I cycle by there is at least one dog on watch. Occasionally it will run out to the road to defend its territory. So far, I haven’t been chased by any ankle biters. 

Ridgefield Corners is my next discovery. It has more letters in its name then people in the town. I enjoy photographing the barns I see along the road today. They are all different in size, color, shape, age and what they store. It’s like riding through a farmland art gallery. I have thoroughly enjoyed my day riding through the back roads of Ohio. I wonder what I’ll discover tomorrow.

God Bless,

Kathy

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
 
A shout out to Farrell, Jean, Don and Sarah.  Thanks for helping us out. You are the best neighbors ever. See you in a month. 
 

Barn buddies.

Barney

Conan O'Barnan.

Barn stalkers.

Barnadette.

Grasses covered with morning dew.

Grasses covered with morning dew.

 

Indiana Farms and Tailwinds

Posted September 4, 2010 By Kathy

Curious cows along the back roads of Indiana.

Curious cows along the back roads of Indiana


 
September 3, 2010

Destiny and I greeted an overcast 64-degree morning with enthusiasm. The wind was out of the west, so I’d have a tailwind part of the day. I headed north on SR 15 and bumped into the town of Leesburg. At the intersection of SR 15 and US 6, I cycled by a tractor show. Colorful tractors sat lined up in a field as men dressed in denim gawked at them and chewed the fat. Everyone has their “thing” in life. Some people enjoy home shows, some boat shows, some car shows and others tractor shows.

I pedaled east on US 6 (Grand Army of the Republic Highway) by corn and soybean fields. A tailwind kicked in and Destiny started singing. I came to a huge dairy farm where cows were socializing in the field. Calves were resting nearby in their cozy shelters. When I stopped to take pictures, Bossie and her friends walked over and posed for me by the fence. I pedaled by a long arm irrigation system resting in a field of soybeans. It looked like a huge walking stick.

When cycling I love to sing. I started singing the song “The City of New Orleans” by Steve Goodman. I modified the lyrics a little. “Good morning America how are you? Now don’t you know me I’m the pedaling one? I’m cycling across America for dystonia. I’ll be gone 3,700 miles when the trip is done.”  Thank goodness no one was around to hear me except the corn, “all ears” in the field.

It is the start of Labor Day weekend and I can see the traffic picking up. So far, on the trip I’ve been blessed with courteous drivers. Most give me plenty of room when they go by, especially the big rigs. I always start out wearing my yellow neon windbreaker, so I’m very visible. When I get too warm, I take it off and wrap it around my waist. I’m still visible as the jacket flaps in the breeze.

I’ve cycled by several yard sales, garage sales and even a barn sale. When I rode through the town of Kendallville, I was greeted by a Ten Commandments display at a major intersection. A couple who own the plaza near the intersection put up the display, two 6-feet tall granite tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments. It was quite a sight to see. It was a definite “made my day” moment.   

God Bless,

Kathy 

2 Corinthians 1:4
 
A shout out to my friend Pam in Gulf Breeze, Florida. When I rode by the yard sales, I thought of you junking on Saturdays.
 

Calves in their shelters.

Calves in their shelters.

Cows socializing in the field.

A lone cow poses for a picture.

A long arm irrigation system.

An Indiana field full of soybeans and wheat.

 

Rain Rain Go Away!

Posted September 4, 2010 By Kathy

A rainy day riding through Illinois farmland.


 
September 1 & 2, 2010

We woke up to heavy rain both days. A large front lingered and saturated the area. It was the first time we had heavy rain the entire trip. I chose not to ride because of reduced visibility and poor road conditions.

September 1, we rode to our destination Kouts, Indiana. Along the way, we were surrounded by fields of stunted corn. Irrigation systems sat quietly by the side of the road. Waterlogged cows huddled together in a field under trees. At mile 20, we crossed into our ninth state, Indiana.

On Indiana SR 10, we rode by fields of soybeans surrounded by trees. The landscape was still flat but now heavily wooded. In among the crops there were several houses and farms. We discovered the small towns of Lake Village, Roselawn, and Wheatfield. Soon we arrived in Kouts.

September 2, we headed out on SR 8 and were surrounded on both sides by corn. We arrived in La Crosse, a tired looking town, and continued zigzagging on back roads. We detoured from SR 8 for two miles because of road construction and ended up following the Kankakee River.

 When we arrived in Knox, the rain picked up. We rode by a field of corn that had the tops (tassels) of the corn cut off. The field looked like it had received a trim. Actually, removing the tassels allowed for cross-pollination which would result in healthier plants and fuller ears. We rode over the Tippecanoe River and stayed on county roads until we arrived in Warsaw, Indiana.   

God Bless,

Kathy

Romans12:6-8

 

Windy Illinois Cornfields

Posted September 2, 2010 By Kathy

Cornfields blowing in the wind.


 
August 31, 2010

I headed out into a muggy, blue-sky day. Our night in the campground was the most uncomfortable of the trip because of nasty mosquitoes and high humidity. Today would be another hot and humid day with plenty of wind.

Yellow-brown corn rustled in the wind as I cycled by fields lined with blue wildflowers. The sun was over my left shoulder as I headed south into a stiff headwind. In among the cornfields, I pedaled by a beautiful, immaculate cemetery. It was truly a resting place set aside in God’s country. 

At mile 12, I arrived outside the city of Streator (population 14, 200). Here my route starting zigzagging around the city on back roads. As the wind whipped through soybean fields, the plants became animated and started dancing up and down. Cornstalks, acting like a huge wind vane, were all leaning forward showing the wind’s direction.

I discovered a big wind farm on my left. Several wind turbines gracefully twirled in the wind. This was a prime area for a wind farm. I rode down a dirt road to get a closer look at the whirling generators. I was amazed at how anything so mammoth could flow so smoothly.  

I turned east onto SR 17 and a tailwind kicked in. Woo hoo!  As the wind whistled through my bike wheels, it sounded like a flute. It was Destiny singing and rejoicing, something she only did with a tailwind.

I passed through the pretty town of Dwight. I was once again cycling along corn and soybean fields. As the day heated up (90 degrees), I was thankful for the wind because it kept me cool, but I had to be careful not to become dehydrated.

After a hot windy day on the road,  we arrived at our destination Kankakee River State Park. We pitched our tent under a canopy of trees and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Yes, all was quiet, even the wind.

God Bless,

Kathy

James 1:17

Rodge and Bailey hangin' in the cornfield. Where's Bailey?

Rodge and Bailey hangin' in the cornfield. Where's Bailey?

Peek a boo. There's Bailey.

Peek a boo. There's Bailey.

Rows of corn.

Cornfields with wind turbines in the distance.

A soybean field with a wind farm in the distance.

A weathered country chuch in the cornfields.

A weathered country church among the cornfields.